Life in Arkansas just became a fraction easier for those who require access to safe abortion, along with youths seeking gender-affirming treatment, as two different judges have blocked bills aiming to deny each of these things.
According to The Washington Post, Judge Kristine Baker of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas issued an injunction on Tuesday against the states’ “trigger law,” which would have been set to go into effect on July 28 as a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. The law would make all abortion in Arkansas illegal except in cases that directly threatened the life of the person giving birth, with no exceptions for rape or incest, making it one of the harshest laws around in a country that is increasingly full of them. Under the law performing an abortion would be a felony punishable by up to $100,000 and 10 years in prison.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has said that he understands full well that the ban would not actually be enforceable under Roe v. Wade, while fully acknowledging that he signed it purely for attention even though he doesn’t even fully agree with it:
Hutchinson, who signed the bill despite expressing concerns that it did not include provisions for abortions in cases of rape or incest, said in March that he understands the ban is “not constitutional under Supreme Court cases right now. I signed it because it is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade,” he told CNN’s State of the Union.
However, the Arkansas ban on medical care for trans kids was too shitty even for Hutchinson, who recently vetoed the measure, which would “forbid doctors from providing gender-confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or sex reassignment surgery to anyone under 18 years old, or from referring them to other providers for such treatment,” according to NPR. But after Hutchinson’s attempted veto, the state’s Republican-led legislature overrode their shitty governor in an attempt to make their state an even shitter place for marginalized people to live. Thankfully, a lawsuit by the ACLU has prompted a federal judge to temporarily block enforcement of this pointlessly cruel measure.
In addition to leading the nation in anti-trans bigotry and anti-abortion rhetoric, Arkansas also leads the nation in child poverty, with the eighth-highest rates of children living below the poverty line in America.